January 25, 2014

Sparking Student Motivation---Reward Cards!

Student motivation is always a hot educational interest for teachers.  In my personal experience, discovering ways to motivate students is especially intriguing for educators who work with older students.  Let's face it---getting middle schoolers excited about learning can sometimes take a miracle.  Ha!

The students I work with can be even harder to motivate.....as they are the "strugglers," and don't always experience success right away.  They face disappointment and (although it breaks my heart) start to develop a low self esteem in terms of academics.  My students---well---they need the most love, encouragement, positive reinforcement and motivation that a teacher can give!!

So....as a teacher of motivationally challenged students...I am forever on the lookout for ways to encourage and inspire my students. I think half of the battle is getting students motivated....and then the rest is easy peasy, mac and cheesy.

Now....I am not one of those people who strictly believe in intrinsic motivation.  Frankly I don't care what it takes to motivate a kid---I am just glad they are excited and willing to learn.  If it takes eating lunch with the teacher, 5 minutes of free time or a prize form the prize box---I will take it!

And in all seriousness---most students are extrinsically motivated these days and my students are no exception.  So I created these cute little reward motivators I use with my students.

I use these reward cards in several ways in my class.  One of the ways is for my student's spelling tests (see how I teach spelling by clicking here.)  I allow students to select their reward--student choice is a big deal!  If they score over an 80% on their spelling test--they get to fill in a circle.  Once all of the circles are filled---they have earned their reward!

I also use these reward cards for comprehension tests, fluency checks, and even completion of various tasks via online learning websites (Raz Kids, Lexia, Moby Max etc.).

Want to see if these cards can motivate your students?  Well you can---go download them for free at my TPT store!!

Included in the download are three cards that I use---Soda Pop, Candies and Popcorn. I also included a blank template--in case you want to make your own.

Honestly my kids love these---they like to know they are working towards something, and they enjoy the flexibility in selecting their prize!  If you are interested---check them out! :)

Enjoy the rest of your Saturday!


  1. I enjoyed this post! Do the kids keep up with their cards? And you just let the kids know if there is something they can sign off on? I would also love to know how you are rewarding moby max specifically. Thanks so much!

    1. Mrs Wicker,

      Thanks for your kind words!! Yes my kids keep up with the cards. After we complete a spelling test and during one of their center rotations--I hand them back their spelling test. They then fill in a letter if they have scored higher than 80%. I make them staple their spelling test to the back of the reward ticket--so they are all in a nice neat location. I keep their tests and reward tickets in their class folders that stay at school, but you can organize that however you want. As far as Moby Max goes--if my student master a common core strand then they get to fill in a letter.

      Hope this helps!!